Featuring: Marcus Strickland (ss, ts) with Robert Glasper (p, Fender Rhodes), Brandon Owens (b) and E.J. Strickland (d, percussion). Special guest: Jeremy Pelt (tp)
BAR CODE: 84273284211522
Listen: Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3
Marcus Strickland's musical journey is one of discovery and of searching for an inner enlightenment. Deeply spiritual and profound songwriting separates Marcus from many of his generation. After last year's Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, in which he was one of the three winners, he is back with his latest CD, "Brotherhood", which refers to not only his brother E.J. on drums, but also his view of his fellow man. These new tracks follow on from his last Fresh Sound New Talent release "At Last" but also take his music a step further, with new sounds and ideas coming through all the time.
Her we have a stellar coast of young players: pianist Robert Glasper, who has also released a FSNT CD this year,"Mood", bassist Brandon Owens, E.J. Stricland on drums and special guest trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, author of last year's stunning "Profile" debut on FSNT. Not to be missed.
2. Values & Imperatives
9. The Unsung Hero
Recorded in Brooklyn, New York, 2002
"If Marcus Strickland's blossoming artistry were judged on his sound alone, he would still merit the attention of the jazz community. That he is also a thoughtful composer and galvanizing force for a crack quartet of spirited young musicians are all the more reason to watch his every move."
- By Ken Hohman, All About Jazz
"Currently a member of groups led by veteran drummers Roy Haynes and
Jeff Watts, Marcus Strickland is one of the most promising young tenor saxophone voices in jazz. On BROTHERHOOD, his second CD as a leader he
returns to the studio with his band of equally promising young musicians,
twin brother E.J. on drums, pianist Robert Glasper and bassist Brandon
Owens, to perform 9 original compositions. Rising trumpet star Jeremy Pelt
guest on 2 of the selections, and according to this writer, the promise
first shown on Marcus' debut CD, "AT LAST", continues to be fulfilled.
As it is on AT LAST, this CD's focus is the group¹s sound and the quality of the compositions. Marcus, who wrote 8 of the 9 compositions on BROTHERHOOD, plays soprano sax on 5 of the selections, while Glasper plays electric piano on 4 selections, giving the group¹s sound some added flavor. With the exception of the hard-bop-with-a-few-twists "Values & Imperatives" and "Predator" both of which feature Pelt, and "Excerpt", an uptempo number based on one of Marcus' solos that features some intense trading from Marcus and Glasper, the music has an overall laid back quality that builds in passion as the selections develop. Other favorites include "Splendour", a feature for soprano and electric piano which begins with the rhythm in 4, melody in 3, that segues into a medium fast waltz with a hip ending, the exotic "Amen" featuring E.J. on frame drum and Marcus' Shorterian tenor solo, the beautiful melody of "Saouse", another feature for Marcus' soprano sax, and the relaxed groove of E.J's "The Unsung Hero", fueled by Owens' big toned bass.
Even though the musicians were in their early or mid 20's at the time of the recording this is not a CD of youthful muscle flexing. This is a great
example of today¹s modern acoustic jazz, even with some electric piano, it
represents a giant step in the evolution of these musicians and this band,
and is one of my favorite CDs so far for 2003. My wish is that these
musicians, Pelt included, don¹t get too busy playing with others to not play with each other.
- Greg Turner, Jazz Review
"Twenty-something saxophonist Marcus Strickland is rapidly emerging as the preeminent voice of his generation on the instrument, showing a maturity
belying his youth that is the combined result of theexcellent tutelage he received in the New School’s Contemporary Jazz Program, and the wealth of
experience he’s already gained through his touring with drummers Roy Haynes and Jeff “Tain” Watts.
Along with twin brother, drummer E.J., another New School graduate, the horn player is creating an identifiably fresh new sound that is strongly rooted in the richly diverse jazz tradition, but is so personal as to be obviously the modern product of the music’s second century. Brotherhood is the sophomore effort for Fresh Sound by the quartet (which also features the phenomenal pianist Robert Glasper and talented bassist Brandon Owens) that was heard on the saxophonist’s excellent At Last debut disc.
Strickland is proficient on both tenor and soprano, devoting to each of the two instruments a deservedly different approach, and is an equally gifted composer with a developing personal voice. The opening title track is pleasantly reminiscent of Dave Holland’s Conference of the Birds, exhibiting a pleasing fluid folkish melodicism on soprano similarly evident on “Splendor”, another straight horn feature. On tenor he exhibits a robust sound, smoothly hard swinging on the Messengerish “Values and Imperatives” (on which he’s joined by guest trumpeter Jeremy Pelt) and more
strident on the exotic “Amen” (featuring E. J.’s frame drum and tambourine). Pelt is also heard on “Predator” where he is effectively paired with leader’s straight horn in an exciting recital propelled E.J.’s
Stickland’s legato soprano, the horn which may well be his primary instrument, is particularly moving on his “Epiphany”, where Owens’ arco bass and Glasper’s Fender Rhodes provide a beautiful background and “Saouse”, on which he’s evocative of Yusef Lateef’s exotic lyricism. All eight of the pieces by Marcus and a ninth by E.J. (“The Unsung Hero”)
are extremely intelligently crafted, well developed compositions. Suffice it to say, this is music that is well worth hearing and will reward repeated listening with a timely insight into some of the directions that jazz will definitely be moving towards in the future."
- Phil di Pietro, All About Jazz